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Suspected stalker leads police on chase into corn maze before arrest

Petaluma Police Department shield in Petaluma, Calif.

A man suspected of stalking his former girlfriend by attaching a GPS tracker to her car and violating a restraining order was arrested Saturday morning in Petaluma, police said.

Ryan Kenneth Watt, 29, a transient, was arrested about 9 a.m. Saturday after police chased him into a corn maze at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch on Stony Point Road.

Watt had been investigated in recent weeks for allegedly stalking his former girlfriend. Incidents included allegedly showing up at her son’s school athletic practices uninvited, appearing inside her home uninvited, hacking her social media accounts and texting her to let her know he was monitoring her whereabouts, police said.

He was arrested in three of the incidents in September, police said.

When Watt was taken into custody on Sept. 21 in connection with an unrelated incident – on suspicion of prowling in the backyard of a home — officers seized his phone as evidence.

They noticed the phone was receiving GPS tracker alerts and after searching the former girlfriend’s car, officers found a GPS tracking device attached to the underside of the vehicle.

On Friday night, the victim told police that Watt had texted and called her — in violation of a protective order — to ask if she would drop the pending stalking cases against him, police said.

When police found him Saturday morning at a homeless camp, Watt ran away, across Highway 101 and into the pumpkin patch, which wasn’t yet open to the public.

About 11 a.m., he was found inside the patch and arrested without incident on suspicion of restraining order violation, attempting to dissuade a crime victim, obstructing officers and for a prowling warrant. A charge of stalking against Watt is currently being reviewed by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Watt was booked at Sonoma County Jail with a bail of $250,000.

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